NASA-backed program aims to prolong life of machines by studying their ‘DNA’

© Toru Hanai
A New York-based company has created software which can define whether a machine is healthy or is in need of some urgent rest and recuperation. The program is able to collect information regarding the lifespans of materials used to build the machines.

The program is the brainchild of Sentient Science, the company whose main goal is to try and prolong the life and efficiency of machines. They believe they have managed to achieve this through the creation of their DigitalClone project.

While medical researchers are looking to get a better understanding of human DNA to help cure illnesses and help people to live longer, the scientists at Sentient Science are doing exactly the same with machines.

The company started by examining 25 years of data on a spur gear, which had been used at NASA’s Glenn Research Center for research on helicopter drivetrains. By using its DigitalClone software, Sentient Science was able to create an exact copy (digitally), which could then be analyzed to see which parts and which materials suffered the most damage and needed replacing.

“What we set out to do was really hard,” said Ward Thomas, the president of Sentient Science, as cited by NASA. “We set out to decode the material genome.”

The program could also theoretically save lives as well, as it would be able to pinpoint when planes or helicopters would be unsafe to fly. It also has its place in the world of medicine; with the medical device company Zimmer is even using the program to analyze hip implants.

Instead of running physical tests for a year and getting three test points, we can give you thousands of test points in days,” Thomas said. “You will have the world’s most tested products, which will run in the field at the lowest cost to operate.”